"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Bodies: Stick With It

Well, I finally finished watching Bodies on Netflix, having watched the first five last month, and the final three episodes last night.  And that was because the first five episodes didn't make much sense -- actually, hardly make any sense to me at all -- but the final three episodes brought it all together, in a way that respected all the paradoxes of time travel, which, as I always say, is crucially important in a time travel story.

The set-up was great -- the same body turning up in the same place, in four different times -- 1890, 1941, 2023, and 2053.   Even with time travel, how could that happen?

[Some spoilers follow ... ]

We find out in the final three episodes -- someone is attempting to travel to the past, a police detective is trying to stop him and fires her gun just as he starts to time travel.  The result splits his body into four bodies, each with a bullet in his head.  And that's when the overall story started to make sense to me, and got me glued to the screen.

Before that happened, there at least were four good period pieces involving the detectives on the case in 1890 (Victorian), 1941 (World War II), 2023 (current), and 2053 (post-huge-bomb-blast) London.  The plot that then fully emerges in the final three episodes follows the central villain of the story from 2053 to 1890 to set in motion a series of events that results in his younger self setting off the bomb that leads to 2053.  Once our heroes understand this, their goal is to puncture the loop that this villain has so painstakingly created.

That's of course no easy thing, and it shouldn't be, which makes the ending all the more satisfying.  The fix has to be put in motion in 1890, and percolate with just the right people in just the right places in subsequent times, and all of that comes off like clockwork.  The 2053 detective and the 2023 detective (aged 30 years in 2053) travel back in time and have all the necessary conversations.

I've recently enjoyed two time travel stories (Novikov Windows and The Way Home) that rely on Novikov's principle that the past cannot be altered.  I said in my reviews of each that I prefered time travel scenarios -- as a reader, viewer, and author -- in which the past could be changed. I'd highly recommend Bodies as a fine example of putting that scenario into a complex, thoroughly engaging story.


here's a little time travel story, you can read for free


here's the first novel in the Sierra Waters time-travel trilogy

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